Whenever the Christmas season rolls around, I begin dreaming about my favorite German cookies: Spitzbuben, which are also often called Linzer cookies. Spitzbuben have long been a Christmas staple in my family, in a line-up with other German favorites like Stollen and Vanillekipferl.
Every year growing up, I would see my Oma or mom in the kitchen carefully cutting circular shapes of dough and letting them bake to a subtle golden perfection. Then they would gently place dollops of red jam on half of the circles before sandwiching them with another circle covered in icing (powdered) sugar.
I have now carried on this annual tradition and enjoy baking Spitzbuben for my own family in Boston (a beautiful city to visit during Christmas time!). These buttery cookies almost melt in your mouth as you taste the mixture of vanilla, sugar, lemon zest, jelly, and rum. It’s hard to stop at just one, or two, or three…
These cookies are a labor of love. Take your time making them, allowing the dough to set in the fridge for at least an hour.
Make sure the dough is rolled out to about ¼ inch. You don’t want it to be too thin or the cookies will quickly burn in the oven.
Let them fully cool before adding the jelly to the whole circles and powdered sugar to the circles with the holes in the middle
You'll need a rolling pin, one medium-sized round cookie cutter*, one small round cutter (for the middle of the cookies)**, parchment / baking paper, baking sheet
*You can use different cookie cutter shapes (flowers, stars, etc.), as long as they are big enough to cut holes out of the middle.
**A thimble with a thin edge or the back of a piping tip for frosting both work well for this.
Recipe adapted from “Die Schönsten Backrezepte” from the Reichenbach Verlag GmbH, Munich.
Last Updated 20 October 2022